As A Lawyer, The Last Place I Would Want My Dispute Settled Is The Court — J.S. Okutepa SAN

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    (SAN) Mr Jibrin Okutepa

    *Over Blotted Cause Lists, Judicial Officers Writing In Long Hands Cause Of Delay of Justice
    *Says Our Court Moves At Snail Pace
    *The Executive Must See That Our Courts Are Enabled To Deliver Justice Without Injustice

    Senior Advocate of Nigeria, J.S.Okutepa, has said that even as a lawyer, the last place he would want his dispute settled is the court.

    The learned silk made this statement whilst commenting on the delay in justice delivery in Nigeria.

    According to him, there are some principal factors that contribute to the reason why litigants do not get immediate justice and judgments in our courts. Among the factors mentioned are the over blotted cause lists, lack of basic amenities in courts and the fact that our judges and judicial officers still write in long hands.

    ”As legal Practitioner, I have come to realise that many litigants do not get immediate justice and judgments in our courts. When I say courts, I mean both the trial and appellate courts including the apex court of the land. The reasons for these are many. Principal amongst them are the over blotted cause lists, lack of basic amenities in courts and the fact that our judges and judicial officers still write in long hands. As a lawyer, the last place I would want my dispute settled is court.

    ”Apart from political and election-related cases, cases in our courts move at snail pace. There are many factors responsible for this. Principal amongst them is the lack of cooperation and synergy between the bar and bench and what appears to be rivalry between the bar and the bench. The bar and bench ought to be like siemen twins. The political class seem also to have perfected strategies to kill speedy hearing of causes and matters. Take a trip to any of our courts, you will feel sorry for judicial officers who sit there,” he said.

    The Learned Silk also narrated his experience in a court premises, which he describes as the gate of hell. He further said that
    we as members of the legal profession have also been unable to give immediate justice to ourselves, adding that, we deliberately injure ourselves and our professional pride and taunt ourselves “you can go to court”.

    ”Just last week I was in one of the high courts in one of Nigerian states in the North. From 9am the court was like the gate of hell. There court hall was so hot that no meaningful legal productivity can come out there. We all struggled till 2pm when the case was adjourned. The government seems to have decided to emasculate the judicial arm with active connivance and collaboration of members of the legal profession.

    ”We as members of the legal profession have also been unable to give immediate justice to ourselves. We deliberately injure ourselves and our professional pride and taunt ourselves “you can go to court”. Why do we do so? We all know that our courts do not give immediate justice and even when courts deliver judgements in some causes and matters, the judgments are mostly devoid of justice.

    ”There is an urgent need to address the injustice in our justice sector. The incoming 9th National Assembly must address the injustice in our justice system. The Executive must see that our courts are enabled to deliver justice without injustice. The judicial arm itself must wake up to its responsibility. A situation where it seems not to be bothered about delayed justice must stop. Why should causes and matters suffer adjournment on account of private businesses of judex? The courts below the Supreme court need to learn from our Supreme court. Supreme court of Nigeria never adjourn appeals unless in deserving cases. Judgments are delivered on dates fixed for them. We as members of the legal profession must ensure that Nigerians are not afraid of going to courts to seek justice,” he added.

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